Germany Tourism in Feb 2023 registered 40.5% more overnight stays than in the previous year

BERLIN (AP) — The German government has agreed to let travelers who’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19 or recovered from infection avoid testing and quarantine when entering the nation unless they come from areas where variants of concern are prevalent.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Cabinet on Wednesday approved a change to existing rules that will also allow non-vaccinated individuals to end their quarantine early if they test negative.

The measures are designed to make summer travel easier, particularly for families when parents are vaccinated and children aren’t.

Health Minister Jens Spahn mentioned the nation expects to roll out its digital immunity certificate by the end of June, making it easier to prove a person has been fully vaccinated.

The certificate can be stored in an app that can be used instead of the yellow World Health Organization vaccine booklet. The goal is for it to be compatible with a vaccine certification system being developed by the European Union.

“If we manage to do this for the EU within the coming weeks, then we’ll likely set a global benchmark,” mentioned Spahn, adding that other countries have yet to even agree on a system at the national level.

Requested whether or not Germany would acknowledge vacationers’ certificates for vaccines not authorized for use within the 27-nation EU, Spahn mentioned this would depend on whether the shot reduces the risk of infecting others.

Vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency, such as that made by Germany’s BioNTech and U.S. partner Pfizer, have been shown to both protect from serious illness and significantly decrease transmission of the virus.

“The vaccines approved outside of Europe need to prove that they’ll reduce the infection risk to a similar extent,” mentioned Spahn. “If that’s the case then I’ve no problem with equating them (with EMA-approved shots), but I want to have proof.”

Like other EU nations, Germany has significantly accelerated its rate of vaccination after a sluggish start at the end of the last yr. Over the past week 5 million doses were administered within the nation, a number the government aims to double as the vaccine supply grows.

Official figures show that a third of Germany’s 83 million inhabitants had received at least one dose by Monday, whereas almost 10% had received both doses.

Several German states are planning to relax pandemic restrictions in areas where the number of confirmed infections is below the threshold of 100 weekly cases per 100,000 inhabitants. Bavaria’s governor mentioned open-air cultural occasions with up to 250 individuals and pre-booked swimming in outside pools will be allowed again in these regions from May 21.

The head of Germany’s disease control agency warned against complacency, noting that the nation still has about 1,000 COVID-related deaths a week.

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